Not sure how to develop your brand? Think like a Girl Guide, says marketing expert

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Many advisers, like others in the financial services industry, struggle when it comes to defining and maintaining their brand. But Katie Lance, a US-based marketing consultant, says there are really only a few key things advisers need to remember when it comes to their branding: Number one? Think like a Girl Scout.

“I am a sucker for any scout who comes knocking at my door — especially when it’s cookie sale season. After my recent three-box purchase, I thought about why the Girl Scout Cookie Program works and what we can learn from it – especially from a branding perspective.”

Lance says there are three things to keep in mind:

Longevity and consistency in brand: “The Girl Scouts have time on their side with a 100+ year old brand…You may not have a 100 year old brand, but you can be consistent in your messaging and in your brand. Don’t be all things to all people. Don’t change your brand messaging every other month with a new font or the next shiny new app. Be consistent in action, in your website, in how you interact with people, in your marketing, and in everything you do. Consistency breeds trust – and as we all know, we do business with those people that we know, like and trust.”

Adapt and change: “A 100-year old brand is bound to get stale. The Girl Scouts just introduced an app for iPhone and Android which will allow you to find out about scouts and the cookies. Are you adapting and changing your brand as needed? Do you have an updated website? Or is it stale and dated? Do you have a presence on social media and a strategy to build relationships, or are you simply ‘just there’?”

“When you think about adapting and changing,” says Lance, “you need to think about being flexible and open to new ideas. Most people don’t embrace change because of fear. Don’t be afraid; adopt new technologies, try them out and see if they are a fit for your brand – if not, don’t be afraid to let it go and keep what works for you.”

Traditional marketing still works. “Door to door. Face-to-face. The Girl Scouts have made millions of sales by sticking with what works: good old fashioned face to-face-selling. The lesson here: Don’t throw out traditional marketing that still works for you. Now more than ever – we have options.”

If newspaper ads and direct mail are still getting business for you, says Lance, don’t eliminate them from your marketing plan.

“The key here is to pick and choose and don’t just do something because it’s what you’ve always done. Look and see how it is helping your brand and bringing in new business.”